Cancer Treatment – Life after cancer treatment
There is a common misconception among cancer patients that ‘once the treatment is over, everything is fine.’ Thirty per cent of patients do not go to the oncologist for follow-up examination or re-examination. They may not be ‘followed up’ due to lack of knowledge and importance of cancer re-examination. In today’s article we are going to learn about what cancer patients should do after cancer treatment.
As we have seen in the previous sections, multidisciplinary therapies such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used for cancer management. Often patients have to deal with all three treatments. The order, however, may be different. E.g. The oral cancer patient first has to undergo surgery. Then radiation therapy has to be done with or without chemotherapy. If a patient avoids radiation therapy after surgery, the chances of cancer recurring are greatly increased. Accordingly, the patient is advised to undergo regular subsequent treatment. If the patient avoids timely treatment, the cancer can recur. Therefore, it is essential to follow the instructions given by the oncologist after treatment.
Patients may experience some side effects after treatment for cancer. Some side effects are ‘acute’ (acute side effects) and the patient can get relief for up to six weeks. However, there are some long-term side effects, which can take up to six months to heal. E.g. Ulcers on the tongue heal in a few weeks after radiation therapy for oral cancer. However, it can take months for the tongue to taste good. Patients need to be aware of this; If the side effects do not go away within a certain period of time, a doctor can be consulted.
Patients are called for regular re-examination after completion of cancer surgery, chemotherapy. Patients should be referred to a oncologist if they experience any symptoms or abnormalities in other organs. Doctors may suggest X-rays, sonography, CT scans, MRIs, abdominal scans, or other blood tests if needed during the re-examination. However, even after the cancer patient has recovered, it is necessary to go for check-ups after a regular period of life. Multidimensional therapies and medications are proving to be effective in managing the recurrence of cancer. Effective surgical techniques, radiation therapy treatments and immunotherapy have proven to be possible in overcoming recurrent cancers.
It is important to be aware of what factors may be responsible for the recurrence of cancer after cancer treatment. If patients do not avoid tobacco, smoking, and alcohol even after treatment, the risk of recurrence of cancer increases. In such cases, de-addiction treatment is required. Patients should be encouraged for such treatment.
Rehabilitation needs to be done in daily life after cancer treatment. It prioritizes regaining physical strength. Most patients lose weight during cancer treatment. Proper dietary counseling as well as proper supplements are essential at this time. Organs cured of cancer require physiotherapy exercises. They should be regularized according to expert advice. Psychological support from the community and relatives is required. When all these are combined, it becomes easier for a person to lead a normal life after cancer.
Don’t ignore other ailments
One thing patients should keep in mind during cancer follow-up treatment is not to ignore diabetes, hypertension, kidney or lung diseases. Healthy lifestyle changes, intake of antioxidant and healthy food and positive outlook on life are complementary to rapid recovery. Cancer Survivors Group, which includes Cancer Warriors, can also take the lead in overcoming cancer trauma by sharing their good and bad experiences and inspiring each other for life. Be careful … be careful … let’s overcome cancer together!…